Baseball may not be a sport that is much followed in India, but the latest round of draft pick in the Major League Baseball (MLB), the top drawer of the sport across the globe, has seen a new history being created.
Indian-American baseball player Kumar Rocker, who plays as a pitcher for NACC team Vanderbilt Commodores, has been selected No 10 overall by MLB heavyweights New York Mets in the 2021 Draft.
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 12, 2021
Kumar, who has become the first Indian-American professional player in the MLB, has his roots in India through his mother Lalitha’s side as his maternal grandparents were Indians who immigrated to the US.
His father Tracy Rocker is a College Football Hall of Famer. Currently, the defensive line coach for the NFL side Philadelphia Eagles, Tracy is a former Washington player and prior to that, used to play college football for Auburn University, when he met Kumar’s mom Lalitha while she was a student at the University of Maryland.
Heading into the 2021 MLB Draft, Kumar has been widely regarded as the best college baseball player this year.
“We’re still so elated here — happy — that Kumar got to us,” Mets vice president of amateur and international scouting Tommy Tanous was quoted in an official statement, “We really thought there was very little chance that this would happen, a pitcher of this talent and his portfolio.”
“This doesn’t happen very often. We feel very fortunate that his name and magnet was still on the board. Kumar was more of a dream than anything else,” Tanous added.
Kumar has always been a top rank college baseball prospect. During spring, he was even in the speculations to become the no 1 pick. His fastball has been clocked in the range of 93 to 96 mph and sometimes the velocity of his heater can even reach 99 mph.
Hailing from Montgomery, Alabama, Kumar became the College World Series champion in 2019, as well as was named College World Series Most Outstanding Player in the same year.
Kumar finished his college baseball career with a stupendous stint with the Commodores, with 28 wins and 321 strikeouts across three seasons.
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